“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is… the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” — Mark Twain
As a newspaper reporter, I was taught to write at an 8th grade level. Editors stressed that wasn’t literal. It meant we should avoid using words that force the reader to seek out a dictionary to understand the meaning. I try to do the same in my writing.
As a reader, however, I love to come across a word that isn’t familiar or is used in a way I find intriguing. Words and how they are used are interesting to me, and even at this age in life, I love to learn something new and maybe something about myself along the way.
In this blog, I plan to take a few words from the books I read and share the fun.
I’ll offer a short review, tell you a little about the book, and then provide a few words the author used in an interesting way or might not be familiar, a least to me. You’ll see the definition and how it was used in the book.
Dark Waters by JB Turner
This book had a little more of a spy-thriller theme than I normally read, but I enjoyed the read. It’s about an investigative reporter (which is right up my alley) in the Florida Everglades investigating the murder of a young man who’d contacted her the day before wanting to provide her with some top-secret government documents. The reporter, Deborah Jones, has her own life and the life of her longtime boyfriend and editor threatened as she fights to discover the truth. She soon realizes the implications of the investigation run deep in national politics. Deep Waters is a real thriller from the first page to the end.
Deep Waters words:
Bonhomie: cheerful friendliness; geniality.
“It reminded him of the Middle America he loathed. Bowling shoes, customized bowling ball, the beer, the head-splitting music, and the fake bonhomie.”
Detritus: waste or debris of any kind.
“All around was the detritus of humankind, playing out their days in air-conditioned malls, like consumer battery farms, being force-fed a sludge of sugar-rush drink and chili dogs, and copious quantities of piss-poor Bud and Michelob.”
Tacitly: an adjective that means understood or implied without being stated.
“From these Islamic schools a wave of young Muslim men emerged who, tacitly backed by CIA dollars, were organized to fight first the Soviet Union — before they turned their attention to the West.”
Wahhabism: Wahhabi is a strictly orthodox Sunni Muslim sect that advocates a return to the early Islam of the Koran and Sunna, rejecting later innovations. It’s the predominant religious force in Saudi Arabia.
“She had remained single but, like the majority of people in Saudi Arabia, she adhered to Wahhabism, the strict theological interpretation of the Koran.”
Stygian: an adjective of or relating to the Styx River.
“He stared at the Stygian darkness of Biscayne, car lights moving slowly across the causeway.”
What interesting words have you come across lately?